Xenia Tornado Memorial
Backstory and Context
One of the most
destructive tornadoes in history, the storm of April 3rd, 1974 destroyed several
homes, businesses, and schools and resulted in the deaths of thirty-four people
in Xenia as well as neighboring Wilberforce University. The tornado was an F-5
on the Fujita scale, the first tornado to reach this classification in modern
times, and resulted in wind speeds around 300 miles per hour.
The tornado hit the city at 4:30 PM in the evening and was just one of several tornadoes and windstorms that caused destruction that day. The storm cell was referred to as the "super outbreak" - a reference to the fact that it was the second largest recorded outbreak of tornadoes in a single twenty-four-hour period in history up to that point. In addition to the tornado that hit Xenia, there were thirty F-5 and F-4 tornadoes that afternoon. From April 3-4th, there were a total of 148 tornadoes in thirteen US states and the Canadian province of Ontario. On those two fateful days, the tornadoes caused damage in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York.
The entire outbreak caused more than $600 million in damages in the United States. At one point during the "super outbreak," there were over a dozen tornadoes causing damage at any given moment. Over those two days of terror, there were 315 fatalities and 5484 people were injured. Of the victims who were killed in Xenia, twelve were children, including a four-week-old baby.
Today, this memorial stands as a grim reminder of the power of mother nature and what the weather is capable of, as well as a testament to the community's ability to heal.
Boykin, Sharahn. "Xenia remains determined 40 years after tornado hit." Dayton Daily News. April 3, 2014. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/xenia-remains-determined-years-after-tornado-hit/GCWRrQqtqFnZROUDimurHP/